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RIP John Reilly, General Hospital & Soap Opera Star

Soap opera veteran, John Reilly, passed away on Sunday January 10, 2010. He was 86 years old. John’s daughter, Caitlin Reilly, broke the news to the world on Instagram Sunday evening. She didn’t elaborate on the cause of death, but considering his age, one can assume it was by natural causes.

In her post, the 31 comedian captioned a photo of her dad with this heartfelt message

“John Henry Mathew Reilly AKA Jack. The brightest light in the world has gone out. Imagine that best person in the world. Now imagine that person being your dad.”

She continued by expressing how much gratitude she had for him being in her life and that she didn’t know what she was going to do without him.

“I love you forever Daddy.” her heart-wrenching post concluded.

Reilly is survived by his wife Liz and his five daughters. He also had two grandchildren and loved being a grandpa.

John’s daughter Caitlin followed in his footsteps by becoming an actress. She’s appeared in a number of short films including 2015s Die! Sitter! Die! Rupert and 2013s Love and Paint. In addition to acting, she is also a famous social media influencer.

Reilly may be remembered for being a Soap star, but he was much more than that. For the rest of this video, we’re going to show you how he rose to fame in the first place and how those he touched throughout his career are honoring his memory.

Most people recall him on General Hospital, but as it turns out, his resume was pretty stacked. Stay tuned to find out what else John Reilly was known for.

How John Reilly Became A Soap Star

Reilly was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 11, 1934. He attended St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota where he received his bachelor’s in Business. In fact, before he got involved with acting, he was quite a successful businessman back in the Windy City. He never thought he would become a successful television star when he first started doing theater. It was just a hobby for him back in those days.

He was already in his mid-30s when he landed his first roles on major TV shows. His first credited role was in a western called A Man Called Shenandoah in 1966. Some of his other early credits include small parts in shows like Kojak, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant, Hawaii-five-O, and Barnaby Jones.

He scored his first recurring role in 1974 as Dr. Dan Stewart on As The World Turns. Things really started picking up for him career-wise in 1978 when he was cast as Jeremiah Taylor on How The West Was Won. He only appeared in four episodes but it gave him the exposure he needed to give his career a little boost.

Small Roles In A Handful Of Shows

For the next few years, he had small roles in a handful of shows including Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, A Man Called Sloane, and The Incredible Hulk. In 1983 he secured the role of Roy Ralston on Dallas for six episodes.

According to US Weekly, Reilly got his big break back in 1984. His life changed when he was cast as Sean Donely on the popular American soap opera General Hospital. It was a huge milestone in his career seeing as the series is the longest-running American soap in production.

His character was introduced when Luke Spencer, played by Anthony Geary, needed help while he was a fugitive from justice fleeing murder charges. Sean was certainly a force to be reckoned with. There was an added bit of intrigue and adventure connected to his character as well. Apparently back in the 70s, he was the head of an intelligence organization called the World Security Bureau.. Reilly played Donely for the next 11 years and reprised the role briefly in 2008 on the primetime spin-off series General Hospital: Night Shift. He did so once again in 2013 for the 50th anniversary of General Hospital.

Reilly’s Career After General Hospital

In 1997, 2 years after leaving General Hospital, Reilly landed the recurring role or Bill Taylor on Beverly Hills, 90210. Bill was Kelly’s Taylor’s Father, a businessman who was often absent from his daughter’s life despite repeatedly promising to spend more time with her. His character effectively exited the show after he was arrested and sent to jail shortly after reconciling with his daughter.

That same year. Reilly was also cast as Del Douglas on Sunset Beach. He would play that role for the next 2 years until Sunset Beach’s cancellation in 1999.

For the next several years. Reilly guest-starred in shows like Melrose Place, Son of the Beach, Days of our Lives, and Judging Amy.

Soaps Playing Alistair Crane

From 2005 to 2008 he returned to the Soaps playing Alistair Crane on NBC’s Passions. He took over the role after David Bailey, who previously played the character, died in a tragic pool accident in 2004. In 2006, he was written off the show after budget cuts. He returned once again to the cast in 2007 and remained with the series for another year before being killed off in 2008. Not counting his 2013 General Hospital reprisal, this was his final acting credit.

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And you’re going to want to stick around for the rest of the video. In just a minute we’ll show you how John Reilly’s daughter, Caitlin, is carrying on the torch that her father passed to her. She might not be doing Soap Operas like her dad but she’s definitely keeping his legacy alive.

But first, let’s see how some of Reilly’s former co-stars reacted to heart-breaking news of his passing.

Reilly’s Co-Stars Remember Him Fondly

Wherever he went – Whatever project he was working on – it didn’t matter what he was doing, Reilly was always liked. That’s clear by looking at the myriads of celebs, co-stars, and personal friends of his that have posted messages commemorating the late actor.

Finola Hughes, who portrayed Anna Devane on General Hospital, penned a moving tribute to him on her Instagram. She recalled how she was greeted on the set of General Hospital by a handsome man wearing a leather jacket. Of course, that handsome man was John. She went on to relay how he welcomed her on to the show and told her that we would be there for her if she ever needed anything. “Boy was he true to his word!” Hughes finished.

General Hospital’s official Twitter page also tweeted out a message paying tribute to one of their alum. The post expressed how ‘heartbroken’ the cast, crew, and friends of the show were to hear of Reilly’s passing. They of course also sent their thoughts and prayers to his family.

Another one of his former General Hospital co-stars Kristina Wagner, who portrayed Felicia Jones, also took to Twitter to express her condolences following Reilly’s death. She called him ‘a treasure’ and sent her love to his family.

A handful of other cast and crew members from General Hospital also sent their regards to the fallen actor’s family through social media.

His Legacy Lives On in Caitlin

John Reilly was such a renowned actor that the other actor and comedian sharing his same name had to add a C to his name to differentiate himself. And no, in case you were wondering, John C. Reilly, is unrelated to him. That point was made loud and clear by one of Reillys biggest fans, director Judd Apatow when he humorously tweeted the sentiment in 2014.

Even though Reilly was such a remarkable actor that he forced other stars to add initials to their stage names, he also enjoyed a blissful family life.

After a whirlwind romance, he married the love of his life, Liz Reilly, in 1981. Liz wasn’t just his wife, she was also his best friend.

In the next several years, the happy couple welcomed three children into the world – all daughters. Caitlin Reilly is a comedian, actor, and social media influencer. She’s recently become a phenomenon of sorts on TikTok doing uproarious yet kind-of awkward impressions of various characters.

Her videos have millions of views. It makes sense that she would have inherited her father’s talent. She’s actually got a couple of films coming out soon too. Cafe Americano and Wrong Reasons – two films she has minor parts in – are both premiering in 2021.

General Hospital Is Going To Pay Reilly A Tribute

A few days ago, Variety reported that General Hospital is planning on celebrating the life of their late castmate by dedicating an episode to him later this Spring. In an interview with the magazine, Frank Valentin, the show’s executive producer mentioned that Reilly was a huge part of the General Hospital history. As such, he deserves to be honored with an episode. The writers are currently working on the script for the special episode.

Due to the pandemic, ABC has had to adjust General Hospitals’ schedule a bit, but the writing team and production staff are still working weeks in advance and are preparing content for the first and second quarter of the year.

Well, unfortunately, we’ve come to the end of this video. We too would like to send our deepest condolences to all the loved ones that John Reilly touched throughout his accomplished life. We’re looking forward to seeing how his daughter, Caitlin, continues carrying on his legacy.

If you have a second, we’d actually love to hear from you! What do you remember John Reilly best from, Passions or General Hospital? Share your memories of John in the comments section.

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